tagSci-Fi & FantasyDetroit up in Smoke

Detroit up in Smoke


Behind me there was the soft patter of bare feet on the wet stone floors by the pool. But I didn't notice them. It was too fleeting a sound, when compared to the music I had playing. I was adrift through gentle melody, afloat not just in water but on the sweet lyrics that floated into my ears like lilies on a pond of still water. Carried there by the very water I was in. A massage of harmonics voices, entwined with deep growling thunder from a bass guitar, which moved across my skin.

I not only heard the music I felt it. Every word like fingers, touching in the most intimate of places.

I shall live only in darkness, and I shall not cry for the light.
I weep in the shadows, shadows of an endless night.
I lay hidden for those killing me.
Forever night, Killing Light!
Hidden places, the darkest of places,
In the darkness there you shall find me, living shadow that I be.
Those hidden with me, lost in the night, shadows
Creature lost from the light
Forever night, Killing Light!
Far am I from the land of the sun.
This lost land, terror to behold, scarred by night.
Lost to light.
Forever night, Killing Light!
I'm lost in the forever, ever night.
Forever night, Killing Light!

High above me the star pattern programed into the ceiling projectors began to shift. On one side of the pool a glow began to spread up from the floor. The sounds of crickets and frogs, which had been all but hidden behind my music, began to fade with the stars.

Chased away with the shadows.

The music played on, the water still delivered it to me, but without the darkness it lost so much of its emotional impact. The acoustic power was fading when the light penetrated my eyelids.

"Sorry to interrupt, but I wanted a morning swim."

Turning around in the water, I was lifted up by ever increasing waves. The sound of surf on a beach began to push my music aside. Those waves lapped at the feet of a woman, the one that had spoken to me, as she was stepping into the pool about ten feet away from me.

She was, to put it simply, gorgeous.

What her skimpy two piece left to the imagination wasn't even worth imagining. I must admit to having to check for drool by the time she was up to her waist in the water. The waves hitting her belly button, and then retreating to show the bikini bottom plastered to her skin.

"I hated to change your program, but I always try to take a swim at the beach, every morning about this time."

That I was being apologized to by this goddess, who could have had me begging, on hands and knees, to change the program for her, was a surprise. It took me a moment to get my mouth to working to answer her.

"Hey, that's okay. I was starting to get too sleepy to stay in the "Night at the Lake" program anyway." As I watched her, she swam out to where I was treading water. As she entered the five foot circle around me, I saw a startled look cross her face.

"Oh, you have the heat really turned up over here." She backstroked to where the temperature was more to her liking.

"Yeah, I set it to higher. A friend and I played Wii Tennis, down at the digital courts, after lunch. I was a little sore in the shoulders." Not taking my eyes off her, I swam out to where she was at. "I don't think I have ever seen you here before?"

"No. I just moved in yesterday. I'm Bonny."

"Eric, but most of my friends call me E.B. So you just moved in? Where from?" I asked. We bobbed in the tidal surf together, drifting back towards the beach. "If you don't mind my asking?"


That was a shock.

"Really? You know I don't think I have ever met anyone who was not a native of Detroit. I mean online sure, but not in real life. Why did you change cities?" I noticed a slight change in her expression then, a startled look that turned colder. "Way to go E.B," I thought to myself. "You haven't said twenty words to the girl and you've already pissed her off." Speaking quickly, I began to apologize as best as I could. "Look, I'm sorry. That was a bit rude of me, we just met. Let me make it up to you. I have two tickets to go ~Neurosliding~ this weekend. Would you accept one as an apology?"

She smiled sweetly and nodded that she would accept the ticket. I mean who wouldn't take one when it's offered. They're damn hard to get!

Well, she and I stayed at the pool talking about this and that for several hours. Sitting on the side letting out feet dangle in the tidal surf washing across them. She asked me about the music I had been listening to, and was amazed that it had been my own playing and singing. That led us to talking about music, which led to a suggestion we go to a local pub I know where they play good music.

A Server-Float* could have brought us the drinks, we could have listened to the music here, but you know nothing beats the feel of a good pub. Not on a hot summer night.

We took my car, the StarMaker2000* to the pub, since her own electric car was in the shop, being reassembled, following its transport from Chicago by bullet train. We stayed at the pub till nearly dawn, the conversations getting more and more personal as drinks and hours passed. I learned that she was an amateur poet, as yet unpublished, who was trying to make ends meet by waitressing. That was why she had moved from Chicago, she finally told me. The market for poetry had died there long before she ever got started trying to write them.

The sun was coming up outside as I drove her home to our apartment complex. Under the SolarDome* of course it could have been any hour. Plus as deep within the multi-tiered maze of concrete ramps, that is modern Detroit, we could not have seen much of the sun, even without the Dome absorbing all its lethal energy, if we had wanted to. Not that we would have wanted to. I mean who would want to see that thing anyway? I never have, not once, in my twenty years here in the city of my birth, ever seen the Sun. I got a kiss at the door, a promise that she would be waiting for me at ten on Saturday, for our ~Neurosliding~ trip.

** ** ** ** ** ** ** **

The chronometer on my wall Vidde showed it to be well into the morning when I stumbled inside my apartment, more drunk than sober. I ignored it when it came on, with its endless "free" ten-hour-long commercials, and pay-per-second family dramas. I was in no mood for that kind of entertainment. Slipping a battered recorder-drive into the wall unit, I headed for the shower. My music appeared, loud and proud. I had a powerful need to chase the grudges away and of course to get off.

There was simply no way I could possibly sleep in the state Bonny's kiss had left me in. And I had to get some sleep; I already knew that work was going to be a bitch with me staying up so early.

Surrounded by my music, with high power jets of hot water spraying me with a skin-stinging mist, I picked the Satisfier* off its hook and slid my cock into it. It slurped me in and began that patented massage ripple, that was its trade mark, as I leaned back to let it work its magic. The whole time it worked my cock I kept thinking of Bonny and her beautiful face, those sexy lips. Lips that would feel so incredible if they were doing this to me. Making me feel this way.

Several minute later--perfectly timed to happen as the shower ended--the Satisfier* used its suction feature to pull the orgasm from my body with its normal shattering force. I cried out Bonny's name as it took my spent semen and processed it for use in the fertility clinics. The small wall screen showed me that a sum of 10 Euro had been accredited to my bank account, and of course the normal "Thank you for your donation, please accept our gratuity as our special thanks."

When the air blowers were done drying me, I stumbled into my bedroom and fell to the SenseYouFoam* mattress. I enjoyed the pleasant wiggles it made against my bare cock as it formed itself to fit my, prerecorded, body pattern. I was asleep in seconds, lulled there by the music I had forgotten and left playing.

I shall live only in darkness, and I shall not cry for the light.

** ** ** ** ** ** **

My alarm woke me just before six. If the haze I saw when I opened my bloodshot eyes can truly be called being awake. Three stems went down my throat before my feet even hit the floor.

Wiping crusted sleep from my eyes, I lurched my way into my kitchenette, stopping to lean half-awake on the doorframe.

"Coffee. Standard. Extra caffeine."

~"You have exceeded your caffeine intake for the month. Preparing coffee."~

"Fuck off, you miserable coffee maker. Just perk already." Stumbling over to the sink, I ran two palms full of cold water and slapped in into my face in a vain attempt to help wake up. Finding a towel, with water in my eyes, was a major adventure that took me only four tires to get it right. The water didn't help me wake up. Not really. I opened the cooler unit. "Food ... huh, not much choice this morning there, E.B." I looked up at the pickup mic in the kitchen ceiling. "Computer. Reminder! Grocery shop."

~"You have four of those recorded already. Message incoming,"~ stated the house system, in far too loud and happy a tone.

"Receive," I managed to mumble around a mouth full of cold french-fries. Breakfast of champions as usual. The hologram shimmered into appearance before me, the man in it like some mutated descendant of dark Lucifer himself. My Boss! I could tell before he even spoke that he was pissed at me, but then that's as common a thing as these cold french-fries.

"Eric! Did you conveniently forget the fact we had an early morning planned for today. I have a studio full of people and no E.B. here to pluck his guitar. Now where the hell are you!"

The jackass just called my home number and wants to know where I'm at? And he's in one of his screaming moods too. I can always sort of tell when it one of those ... the way that vein pops out on his forehead. That and the volume of his screams.

"I'm sorry Chase, I was ..."

"Never Mind! I have had it with your excuses. You can pick up your crap you've left here whenever you can manage to drag your lazy ass here to the office. Don't wait too long or it will be on the curb!" The hologram disappeared with a snap.

The coffee maker chimed making me chuckle, since I was already awake. I poured a cup and wandered into the main room. "Computer. Current paper; classified section; topic-employment."

As I sipped my coffee the wall size screen switched from the continuous montage of commercials to the newspaper. (Although an ad for Vivateen* continued to play in one corner)Scrolling through the sections, with waves of my hand, I looked for openings in either of my professions. It was no surprise that there was no listings for non-digital music editor/critics, but just how few offers for musicians there were was a surprise. Well not really, the market for live music had been falling off for years. Oh, look Note Masters has an opening! Too bad they won't hire me, since they just fired me.

Nothing else seemed to hold any appeal, but I marked a few to give a call too and a couple to send my resume to. When I shut this down I nearly got trapped into a seven hour long Hovround* floating chair commercial. Those things look cool. Turning my head to keep following the video, I walked back into the kitchen, poured the dregs of the coffee into the sink and got a soda from the fridge. Dropping back into my recliner, I kicked back and popped open my drink, with some small loss due to shaking. It was just going to be one of those days.

Oh well, the floor probably wanted a drink anyway.

Before I could get sucked back into the commercial I spoke. "Movie selection."

~"Topic please?"~

Thinking about what might be interesting to someone who had been awake for only a half-hour and already been fired didn't take long. "Anything to do with the murder of an employer."

The computer gave me my selection, (but a small window in the bottom of the screen showed me that a notation had been made in my permanent work records.) Making a selection, I sat back with a yawn to watch. However I wasn't ten minutes into the movie before I was back asleep. The movie's credits were still playing scrolling past when an incoming call woke me two hours later.

"Received!" I shouted to shut the continual "Message incoming" chime off. The hologram that appeared this time was much nicer to look at than the one before. An angel to the earlier demon.

"Hey, Eric ... I mean E.B. Oh I'm sorry, I don't mean to interrupt anything."

Puzzled about what she meant, I realized I was sitting here naked. Well, that might explain a bit of my boss's anger earlier. I mentally shrugged. I had been hoping Bonny would see me without clothes on anyway.

"Hi, Bonny. How's the poetry business?" I asked sitting up.

She blushed, then grimaced. "Never hath so much, been rejected by so many, so soon."

"That bad, huh?"

"Yeah," she let out a soft sigh. Her eyes dropped downwards for a moment then snapped back to my face. "I was calling to see if we could maybe move our date up to tonight? I have nothing to do and a fun night out with you is more appealing than sitting here counting rejection slips."

"No reason why we couldn't. I tell you what, let me grab some clothes. I'll come over to get you, we can go eat, and then go for our slide. What you say?"

"Oh, that sounds wonderful. I'll be waiting." She gave an appreciative smile.

"See you soon, then." I hopped to my feet and went rushing off to see if I had clean clothes.

"Bye," she said before I was out of sight. I backpedaled into camera view again. "And E.B., nice ass."

"Thanks. Bye, Bonny."

Switching off the receiver, I nearly danced into the bedroom. Tossing on the latest fashion--clothes made by a designer more skilled with a design program than with needle and thread--I tried to find my boots. Checking my look in the mirror, before I went out the door, I wasn't crazy about this crap, but hey it was the latest style, so what can you do?

** ** ** ** ** ** **

Those hidden with me, lost in the night, shadows Creature lost from the light

My StarMaker2000* roared out the parking garage, of my section of the apartments, at better than 70kph. I danced the little roadster in a long, tight, turning drift, weaving it through the twisted streets of the Detroit Conurbation to Bonny's side of the complex. Hell, at one point I even managed to get the thing up to nearly 90kph. That was unheard of fast for one of these little sport coups, but then I had made a few modifications that were not ... strictly legal.

With smoke drifting like sad ghosts off my tires, I took the last turn and slid into the parking deck of Bonny's side of our apartments. With my brakes barking like hunting hounds, I skidded into one of the guest parking spaces, and rang her apartment number. Then flipped on the news while I sat waiting for her to appear. The little screen that is normally my rearview camera began running banners of dire "doom and gloom" crap. While the news anchor, in her stylish clothes designed to show most of her breasts, continued her seductive reading of a VidPromter*

(Detroit News 67*)... believers, that the ever increasing levels of ultraviolet radiation may one day over power the current levels of protection, held a protest rally last night. Technical engineers at Matherier labs scoffed at the notion. Their faith in their SolarDome* remains unshakable, however ... when asked for an on camera interview ... they declined. For security reasons ... ~wink~ ... I'm sure. Right, Michael?" "Exactly right, security at its tightest. If it was any tighter, Terry, their butts would whistle"

I turned off that rehashed crap when I saw Bonny step from the elevator doors. The new anchor, toying with the top button on her blouse, was giving me a hard on anyway. I grinned watching Bonny and her equally incredible breasts bouncing as she hurried to the car.

"Ready to go?" I asked when she opened the door.

"Oh honey, I was born ready to ~Neuroslide~. She climbed in and the door closed behind her. Our ears popped as the cabin sealed itself tight. "Nice car, by the way. I meant to tell you last night, but we were so busy talking about other stuff."

With a devil's grin on my face, I threw the shifter into reverse, hammer the pedal into the floor and spun us out the parking space. The StarMaker2000* purred when I dropped into low and left two trails of smoke behind me in twin wraith-like clouds. We were out the parking complex and tearing down the descending ramps at close to a 100Kph in moments.

"Oh! You like to drive fast!" she squealed.

"Most defiantly."

I loved how she squirmed herself on the leather seats, her short skirt bunched up in the back so that she was bare assed. A glance showed me she was wearing nothing under that skirt. My grin was only starting to leave an hour later when I pulled into the parking deck of NeuroGlitter and tossed my keys to a fuckin' maniac of a valet. When he pulled away from us, too fast, I protested to his manager. You shouldn't abuse a care like that!

The crisp shirt--with the attendant in it--showed us inside. Complimenting my clothes and Bonny's, as was his job, the whole way to the dressing rooms. Then left us with "complimentary" drinks and went to get our tickets validated and out sliding passes. By the time he returned with our suits, I had managed to sneak a few more kisses out of Bonny. I pulled the Sense-a-Dike* clothes on, hating as always the cold feel of it, like wet slime but dry to the touch.

The Sliding chairs were lined in four great rows.

I could see that there were dozens of people already in most of them, sliding in their own private fantasy hallucinations. After helping Bonny into hers the attendant guided me to mine. He could have just pointed; it was right next to hers. But then if he had done that he wouldn't have been "entitled" to a tip. The chair took the ticket, and with a dozen adjustments conformed itself to fit my body perfectly. Another feeling I didn't care for. Made me think of snakes or bugs crawling on me. Glancing back over at Bonny, I saw that her chair was doing the same to her, but she seem to be enjoying it. She had a look of lust in her eyes that made me envious of a piece of furniture for the first time in my life.

"What subject would you like today, sir?" The computers Sytha-voice* asked me in a voice that was all purr and rolled Rs. "May I recommend the surfing at Banzai Pipeline? We're having a special on that this week."

Always the advertising pitch, even when they have your money, they are still trying to sell you something.

"No, thank you." Surfing at Hawaii? The whole place is under water for Shade sake. That slide must be a museum piece, brought back by some old fogies for others like them who miss the sun. The stupid geriatric idiots. What's so great about getting skin cancer in under two minutes flat? "Enter the data from the last Kilimanjaro 500. Winning car of course, thank you."

Always pays to be polite to machinery about to be hooked to your brain. You never know what kind of sense of humor the programmer had.

There was a silence for a second as the ~Neuroslide~ computer began to match my brain wave patterns with recorded patterns from the driver. Then I began to hear and feel a drumming roar of an unmufflered engine, high performance hydrogen without a doubt. That was also when my body began to sweat, feeling the raging heat of Africa at night, and my vision blurred.

Then the moonlit dust and other cars began to appear, like a pack of ghostly wolves loping alongside me as we raced around the base of Kilimanjaro.

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